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Vaughan's Been Clean, Sober for 2 Years : Getting Loaded on Cocaine, Alcohol 'Wasn't Fun Anymore,' He Says

October 01, 1988|JIM WASHBURN

He credits support from family, friends and fellow musicians with pulling him through. Among the latter was Eric Clapton, who Vaughan had met in Australia two years earlier. "He'd been sober for a time when we first met, and I was drinking heavy," Vaughan said. "He didn't tell me what to do or not to do, he just looked at me drinking and said, 'Yeah, I guess sometimes you've got to go through that, don't you?' He knew I had to hit bottom myself before I could get up. And some of the things he told me turned out to be principles of the program I use now."

Clapton also visited him in the treatment center. "That helped for all different reasons: because I knew he cared; because I knew he had been through this, and we could talk about it; and it also helped just that someone like him came to see me."

Though Vaughan has toured considerably in the last two years, he and his band (drummer Chris Layton, bassist Tommy Shannon and keyboardist Reese Wynans) are proceeding at a less demanding pace, and Vaughan is only now preparing to enter the studio to record the follow-up to his 1985 studio LP, "Soul to Soul."

Starting Oct. 14--two years and one day since his last drink--Vaughan will headline a series of benefit shows at the Austin Opera House to aid the newly established Rhythm & Blues Foundation, which in turn is aiding America's early R&B artists in rekindling their careers or recouping unpaid royalties.

"It's got a lot to do with seeing people treated fairly," Vaughan said, beginning to sound like his "Life Without You" rap, "and we have an obligation to help. If we don't, nobody else will."

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Santana and the Fabulous Thunderbirds will perform Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Pacific Amphitheatre, 100 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. Tickets: $14 to $18.50. Information: (714) 546-4875.

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